Clemson fans boo injured Syracuse players; not cool, ever

The stadium in Clemson, S.C., called Death Valley. (Getty Images)

The stadium in Clemson, S.C., called Death Valley. (Getty Images)

The Clemson fans booed an injured Syracuse player Saturday night as I watched the college football game from South Carolina unwind on my flat screen from the comfort of my living room up here in Central New York.

More than once.

So I figured it was not an accident. It did not make me happy. I did not buy the ESPNU announcers’ rationalization that the fans were reacting that way because they thought opposing players were faking injuries this season to slow down their Tigers’ high speed offense.

If that were the case, the booing should be reserved for the coaches plotting such lame strategy. And I do agree, faking injury to slow down your opponent is low. In fact, I think if the officials can prove it’s faking, the offending team should be penalized.

But this sustained booing of the player who’s down, and then again, while they’re limping off really looking hurt, that’s base, crass, damning. Fans should not be booing a college athlete when there’s even a smidgen of a chance that he or she has gotten injured on the field of play during a game.

Syracuse.com reporter Stephen Bailey asked Syracuse coach Scott Shafer and a player about the crowd’s booing the players after the game. Shafer appeared to have bristled a “They can do whatever they want down here. Next question.”

I would like to fill the Clemson fans in a bit further, if my little story here could ever reach their ignorant eyes:

One of the players who went down was John Raymon. You booed a defensive lineman who missed most of last season after his leg was wrecked during a game, and had to be reconstructed with surgery. Most thought he’d miss all of this season, but his hard work allowed him to return midway. He stood up last night and walked toward the Syracuse sideline on wobbly legs as you booed. Another was wide receiver Brisly Estime. He’s missed four games with “lower body injuries.” He, too, wobbled his way off the field to your derision. The syracuse.com story said a lot of Orange players were cramping from dehydration, a northern team’s curse playing this time of year in the south.

So, Clemson fans: Who appointed you judge and jury? News flash here. Your offense isn’t so good that opposing players need to fake injuries to keep pace with you on the field. Your defense is great, one of the best in the nation. Hats off to that unit. No manner of faking would have helped Syracuse get a step on them.

All of that Death Valley aura, Howard’s rock, 80,000 fans roaring, the team running down the hill to the field, it’s a pretty cool legend. It looks great on TV. That booing last night, though, spoiled it thoroughly for me, so much so that I hardly want to congratulate you on your 16-6 win over Syracuse. But I will. Good sportsmanship, you know?

Do you think it’s right to boo if you think a player is faking an injury, in case the player is really injured? Do you think there should be a rule where a referee can penalize a team if the official thinks a player is faking an injury? Would you ever fake an injury if a coach told you to do so to help your team?

36 thoughts on “Clemson fans boo injured Syracuse players; not cool, ever

  1. Hello, amigo! Just coming out for a bit to check in with my fave peeps. This post did not make me happy! That’s horrible about the booing. What ever happened to civility and class? AY! Hope all is well with you. 🙂

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    • Ay is the perfect comment, Mrs. B. My Mrs. B said she saw a report on TV at work today that said “some Clemson fans apologize for the booing of injured SU players, know it looked wrong.” Or something to that effect. I’m glad that some people down there were aghast, too!

      I’m also glad you are coming out a bit. Feel better, please, my friend. I need you around for longer, and then permanent.

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  2. That’s very sad! 😦 I never realized players might actually fake an injury, but yes, if that’s the case, they should be penalized somehow. Everyone should play fair. But the people that boo an injured person should also be penalized. They should be ejected from the stadium. No tolerance for meanies!

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  3. Booing is saved for bad calls and plays, not injuries. Fake or not.

    Even for bad calls, etc, the booing is only up to a certain point. no, it isn’t dictated anywhere but the game has to go on so get over it and hope we do better next play.

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    • I am a New Yorker, so I do my share of booing. I reserve it for bad execution. Silly penalties. Dumb play calling by the coaches. Dropping passes that should be caught. Both sides of the ball, really, my team and the opponent. It’s in my blood, Jeanette. If there’s obvious effort, though, not so much.

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  4. It could be worse… I seem to recall Philadelphia Eagles fans once cheered a Michael Irvin (of the rival Cowboys) injury that required him to be carried off the field on a stretcher. Some fans just think buying a ticket gives them a right to act as rude as they please to the players on the field…

    I have to admit, I’ve never heard of the “faking injuries to slow the game down” conspiracy theory before in any football game I’ve watched. Then again, I’ve always despised Clemson ever since an alum told me about a program they instituted there a few years ago to thin the campus squirrel population through “trap and euthanize”. Talk about not cool…

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  5. just thinking about this happening angers me. A sports game should never be more important than the safety of the players. The “booers” should be ashamed of themselves, and personally, I hope they are.

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    • It angered me enough to write about it the next morning, PJ. Unfortuneately, I doubt that those that booed even give these sort of things a second thought. They’re only worried about how their squad can win the next game.

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  6. i think that booing an injured player is horrible and unfeeling. and i wouldn’t ever fake an injury, i’m too grateful for being healthy and feel for those who are hurt or who aren’t healthy in some way –

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  7. I agree 100% Mark. You couldn’t have said it better. I wouldn’t fake an injury to help the team. If you can’t win by playing better, then you lose. That’s all. Anything else is cheating, whether it’s called that or not.

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